MENOMONIE (October 2, 2020) – COVID-19 is a public health emergency both nationally and locally. Currently, a total of 663 people in Dunn County have been diagnosed with COVID-19, with 196 current active cases. Dunn County has a “very high” case activity and increasing trend in cases averaging over 50 cases a day per 100,000 people in the last two weeks. Visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/disease.htm for more information.
Symptoms have ranged from life-threatening to nothing noticeable (asymptomatic) in Dunn County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. We have also observed pre-symptomatic spread in some of our local cases. We know it is possible for people to spread a germ that they did not know they had to a person that will experience severe symptoms. We also know that in Dunn County, 45% of our population has one risk factor and 27% of our population have two or more risk factors that increase their risk for severe symptoms.
Treatment options continue to be limited. Because the virus is so new, the science is still catching up. One important area of ongoing research is around treatments and vaccines that are proven safe and effective. Some anti-viral medications and supportive treatments are showing promise but are still in initial stages. We cannot currently rely on these treatments to prevent widespread severe illness.
The Public Health System is overwhelmed locally and regionally. Due to the large volume of daily new COVID-19 cases in Dunn County residents, the Health Department must prioritize interviews with the positive case over the aggressive identification of close contacts and contact investigations. The Health Department will still contact trace exposures in homes, schools, longterm care facilities, childcares and other environments with a high risk for spread. In other work and social environments the positive case is requested to notify all of their contacts and share that they should monitor for symptoms and stay home in quarantine for 14 days.
Preventing spread continues to be essential. As a result, non-pharmaceutical prevention of germ spread, or viral transmission, is so very important. The Dunn County Health Department is recommending the following ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
1. Dunn County residents are advised to avoid public gatherings in their place of work, play or worship. Groups larger than 10 in an indoor setting and 25 in an outdoor setting, create increased risk of spreading germs. Gatherings are not able to be contact traced by the Health Department at this time. All gatherings that bring together people in a single room or space, whether inside or outside, at the same time should:
• Preserve physical distancing (maintaining 6 feet of distance between people and avoiding all direct physical contact); and,
• Follow all other public health recommendations issued by Dunn County Public Health Department, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the US Centers for Disease Control. This importantly includes wearing a cloth face covering, practicing good hand hygiene, practicing good respiratory hygiene and staying home when sick.
• Create a contact list with the names and phone numbers of all people that attended the gathering so that you can call them if someone in attendance reports that they are positive for COVID-19.
2. Dunn County residents are advised to limit all non-essential travel.
• Stay home if you do not need to go out. Working from home, virtual gatherings, and using curbside or delivery ordering are still the safest and best options to protect yourself and others.
• Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days if you travel outside of your home community.
3. Dunn County residents are strongly advised to avoid high-risk social interactions.
• Do not spend time at indoor bars or dance halls.
• Do not host or attend house parties.
• Do not host or send children to sleepovers.
• Do not play high contact sports.
• Do not attend in person music performances with singing or brass/wind instruments.
4. All people are encouraged to contact their health care provider via phone or online, to discuss if they should be tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 listed on the Wisconsin DHS’s website: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/symptoms.htm